Tag Archives: breast exam

Breast Cancer – What do I need to know? – Jill Sung

12 Oct

Breast Exam: Anatomy

It’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month! And besides knowing that I need to do self exams and that JUARA is donating funds from sales for this important issue

Some Diagnosis Tips: Self Exam

If you’re 20 years old and above, it’s good to start self-examining now. The most common signs of breast cancer are below, however, we should keep in mind that not all lumps or changes mean one has breast cancer…these are just common signs to watch for – if found, go to your doctor. An easy self-exam video: Breast Cancer Self-Exam Video

  • a lump in the breast
  • abnormal thickening of the breast, or
  • a change in the shape, size, or color of the breast
  • less common but also signs
    • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
    • Swelling, redness or warmth that does not go away
    • Pain in one spot that does not vary with your monthly cycle
    • Pulling in of the nipple
    • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly and appears only in one breast
    • An itchy, sore or scaling area on one nipple
Should I  get a Mammogram?

The rules I’ve learned are that one should receive mammograms once a year at age 40 and beyond. But this past November 2009, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (and pay attention ladies, because this may affect insurance coverage) stated that women with an average chance of breast cancer should receive biennial mammograms between the age of 50 and 74. (If you have a greater chance because a family member had breast cancer or have clinical signs, etc. you should consult your doctor and discuss the best preventive practice.) For women between the age of 40 and 49, the USPSTF recommended against annual screenings because of the risk of radiation exposure, false-positive/negative results, overdiagnosis, pain during procedures, and anxiety, distress…Despite these rulings, many of the organizations that support breast cancer awareness are still evaluating the decision of when to start preventive mammogram screenings. So please keep in mind that you should, with the help of your physician, assess your risk for breast cancer and be preventive accordingly. (Interestingly, the USPSTF also recommended against breast self-exam…but the jury was out on self-exam by supporting organizations as well).

I think that’s it for now, we’ll talk more about the risks, etc. next time. How many of you out there do yearly self-exams? Why? Any tips?